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MSN Buys 500,000 Qwest.Net Customers 198

SEWilco writes: "MSN is expecting to increase its users by 10% in a deal with Baby Bell Qwest. Although the MSFT press release does not specifically state it, according to Mercury News and Reuters/Yahoo a later conference call confirmed that Qwest.Net will be replaced by MSN service. MSN said it will 'strike deals with companies that own their own infrastructure rather than wholesalers' in a PC World article pointed at by a recent DSL discussion. You can't strike a much bigger deal than this, unless you get all of a Baby Bell's voice customers too." A few readers have written in unhappy that they're about to become MSN customers, too.
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MSN Buys 500,000 Qwest.Net Customers

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, who do they think they are anyway - Sony?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, you think your horseshit is any better? It's one thing to disagree with something, or to dislike it, it's a whole different matter when people are consumed by a mindless bloodlust.

    It'd be one thing if this was a world of black and white, but it's not, it's not even close. One man's good is another's evil more often than one might hope.

    And no, last I checked, MS did not quite chain their programmers up like the software company in Space Quest 3(I think it was 3, maybe it was 4), so the Nike comparison is off. They might not treat them all equally, but that's another matter.
  • Static IPs over DSL won't last long: From what I've read from the owner of the ISP I use, he's being pressured by the "local" Baby Bell to sign a new contract requiring all existing customers with static IP to be migrated over to PPPoE. I expect cable and DSL to converge in a few years to the same type of restrictions and limitations.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Give her a break, she said Aunt Flow was visiting. Her fingers are probably stuck together with monthly goo. That explains the typo.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    dang, if only i hadn't blown all my moderator points. somebody give this a +1 Informative.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One thing noone seemed to notice is that Qwest is a huge supporter of 2 things that MS hates, netscape and *BSD. The support CDs they send out all have netscape on them, and they have been huge supporter of things not-MS. In addition to that, most of the ISP is run on some flavor of BSD. Wanna bet both of these will change asap? If you thought the 'service' they provided now sucks when they use good equipment (cisco/*bsd), imagine what will happen when they move to Win2K, Active Directory and paperclip icons to help you. *SIGH*
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, it matters *who* bought out the ISP. Acting like everyone is the same would be like the allied invasion of France was no different than Hitler's invasion. Hey, we *both* invaded France, yet somehow it was "bad" when the Nazis did it and "good" when the Allies did it...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "GPL-compatible" means "Someone can trivally relicence it under the GPL, at which time it will become Free Software".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't know if this is true for all/most QWest-customers, but I at least have DSL service from Qwest (from US-West originally), and ISP services from a smaller+better ISP. Works out great; Qwest's basic DSL works ok and I can have static ip and run servers having a cool ISP. No extra costs, although Qwest as ISP might be the cheapest option (I end up paying 5 bucks a month 'extra' using an independent ISP... well worth the money) available at 15$/month.

    In fact not being tied to one ISP is perhaps the best thing about Qwest, and one of the biggest disadvantages cable modem would have (if ATnT happens to some day finally get my area covered)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just LOVE vladinator's site [olsentwins.com]! Especially the "fash" section, where I learned to cut the bottom off of an old shirt to use as a hair enhancement! Oh, and the "dance party" photos!

    Of course, don't forget to read vladinator's emails [olsentwins.com]! Here you will discover how truly difficult it is to decide what to do on the weekends... have a pizza party? A fash party? Go to the mall with all of your friends? Have a sleepover and call boys on the phone?

    In short, if you haven't checked out vladinator's site [olsentwins.com], you don't know what you're missing! [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Our testing indicates XML to be slower by a factor of about 10x over Java binary equivalents. It only makes sense if you think about byte count, parsing, etc. A whole infrastructure built around XML will indeed require lots of bandwidth. A better choice is negotiated, escalating protocols; think modem protocol handshake. Some ORB vendors (e.g. IONA) supported both IIOP and proprietary protocols and/or transports. Handshaking is then used to select the most appropriate choice between partners and network topology. The results are astounding, like 10 to 100x (for ANYs). So, count on .NET to be very slow and require lots of bandwidth.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:22PM (#257052)
    yes, one of those monolithic Linux ISP's, oh wait, there are none.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:13PM (#257053)
    I was never very impressed with Qwest.net anyway, but now that it's going to be part of MSN, it's _really_ time to switch ISPs. The part of the press release that scares me is the line about how Qwest and Microsoft share a common vision .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:13PM (#257054)

    A little more info. Not all DSL customers were sold. It seems they only sold their personal customers not the business customers.

    Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Qwest.

    Qwest Internet Solutions Technical Support wrote:


    Thank you for contacting QWEST Internet Services Technical Support.

    You are inquiring about MSN and Qwest partnership.

    On April 26, 2001, Qwest and Microsoft announced an agreement, which will soon offer the benefits of MSN to Qwest's In-Region (14 state) customers.

    Details of this arrangement are still being worked out.

    All existing Qwest.net customers will receive e-mail notification about the agreement in approximately 30 to 60 days. Full implementation is not expected for 60-90 days.

    Qwest.net Internet Access Analog, DSL Select and DSL Deluxe customers are included in the agreement.

    Qwest.net OfficeWorks and OfficeWorks LAN, and DSL Professional customers are not included in the agreement.

    Our relationship with MSN will enhance our ability to provide Internet access to our customers.

    Thank you,

    Qwest Internet Services Technical Support

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @10:41PM (#257055)
    This isn't the first time Microsoft has bought a competitor and "SLAMMED" users to their MSN service. Anybody who bought a DELL computer in the last year or so with DELLNET ISP option was switched to MSN without recourse this past January. Branding is so important to Microsoft that they wouldn't even let people preserve their "dellnet.com" email addresses. They forced all users to adopt MSN account names.
    Everybody I know who was slammed by this switched to other service providers, as they hated their MSN service.
  • With Time-Warner-etc merging with AOL, AOL can't pick up AT&T. The FCC would have a WHOLE lot to say on that issue since Roadrunner and @Home are pretty much (AFAIK) the two largest cable service networks.

    Now I, OTOH, am up a secondary tributary without a primary means of propulsion, since I use Roadrunner. Ugh. Maybe I should switch to BellSouth DSL.

    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • Consider:

    Here are your recent submissions to Slashdot, and their status within the system:

    • 2001-04-13 15:04:42 Microsoft claims closed source more secure (articles,microsoft) (rejected)
    • 2001-04-26 00:04:11 Microsoft distributes virus-infected HotFix (articles,microsoft) (rejected)
  • Oh ok, thanks!
  • When did they become a Baby Bell?
  • I work for a company that buys and sells mortgages.

    I don't see anything odd about that. :)
  • While having a monopoly may not be illegal, that certainly doesn't mean that I like MS b/c of it. I'd be much happier if no one monopolized the computing industry. And I'm perfectly entitled to complain about it. After all, _should_ it be the ultimate goal of the people who work at MS (in whose hands the decisions and responsibilities lie) to run the whole show? I think not. Were I in there shoes, I certainly wouldn't even try to; competition is too important to preserve.
  • Well they rather need to work with the infrastructure guys, what with .net around the corner. Especially as xbox is a thinly-veiled attempt at cornering the low-end pc market and console market. (gaming + ms's webtv + ms's ultimate tv + ms's ie + ms's office via .net for ~$400 with monthly charges)
  • Ack, that came out wrong. I meant to say they bought U.S. West which was a Baby Bell.
  • by howardjp ( 5458 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:16PM (#257064) Homepage
    Qwest is not a Baby Bell. Qwest bought U.S. West to become a Baby Bell.
  • Do what I said in another post: if you don't like it, leave the company and get service elsewhere.

    And pray that they don't sell you out to Microsoft as well.

    Jay (=
  • by nebby ( 11637 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:16PM (#257072) Homepage
    Let the Microsoft bashing begin..

    Sometimes I think it would be interesting if Slashdot would post a Microsoft (bashing) story with Microsoft's name omitted ("An Unknown Company" or something less suspicious) initially, let the posts roll in, then reveal the truth and see how quickly opinions change.

    I'm guessing that if some large Linux based ISP picked up the entire userbase of another (NT based, perhaps?) ISP it would be declared a "Victory for Linux" etc., etc.
  • by nebby ( 11637 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:41PM (#257073) Homepage
    sets out to monopolize the industry

    Having a monopoly is not illegal. Abusing it is illegal, and is why MS got in trouble. It is the ultimate goal of any company to have a monopoly over the industry, though almost always an unreachable one. I'd be perfectly content with Windows on every desktop if MS didn't try to hinder the competition and leverage their OS monopoly to overtake other companies. The fact that Linux exists says that it is still not an impossibility for an alternative to exist, it just (right now) sucks nuts in comparison for the average user's desktop.

    makes crappy software

    I like Linux just as much as the next guy (and use it for running my site) but Windows 2000 is the best desktop platform I've yet seen. Office is the best office suite on the market as far as I'm conerned. DirectX, COM, and other technologies are well designed AFAIK (never coded using either however.) C# looks like it has potential. These are all opinions, YMMV. (And yes, I'm well aware of the security flaws MS has a reputation of having in their software, so don't lash out back at me.. I didn't say that they put out perfect software, just that the software they produce is not universally "crappy")

    Activism becomes 'geeky' because of morons who call it a 'trend' that bratty young people use just to have something to rebel against

    I'm 19 years old. A lot of activism is trendy, participated in by individuals who do not understand the complexity or both sides of the issues involved.. I see it every day where I live [cornell.edu]. A lot of activism is participated in not because it is trendy, but because it is well founded and offers a truthful perspective on a situation. The trick is differentiating between the two, and Microsoft bashing of extremely one-sided nature falls more into the former than the latter, IMHO. "A few readers have written in unhappy that they're about to become MSN customers, too." .. come on now, was that really necessary??

    If you think there is no such thing as an activist who participates because it gives them something to do, a 'scene' to associate with, a snappy catchphrase to wear on their shirt, and a place for social interaction, I can assure you they are far from a rarity.

    the few people who break from the majority are the ones called ignorant conformists

    Anyone who takes a black and white view of the world and closes his or her mind to alternative opinions is an ignorant conformist. If they are conforming to a majority or minority stance is of no relevance.

  • by mudpup ( 14555 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:10PM (#257078) Homepage Journal
    Hey I guess if your service is not good enough to attract customers; buying customers is an option??

    Somehow that does not sound right, how much did they pay and how long will X number of customers have to stay to pay back the investment?

  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:16PM (#257079) Homepage
    .Net will require TONS of bandwidth. Microsoft seems to expect that MSN will be the primary carrier for thier vision of the future. Not only will you pay them for the hotel (.Net), you'll be paying them for the trip (MSN) too.

    No one can accuse them of not being shrewd.
  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:07PM (#257080) Homepage
    If they expect to keep the same huge customer base, they'll need bandwidth on the front end as well as the back end. On the front end, how long is Joe Homeuser going to wait for his kids picture to be saved before he throws that .Net appliance out the window? It's not a problem of programming or standards, it's a matter of perception of thier customers. Most might be happy with the responsiveness of an XML object once it gets to thier computer, but if it takes 45 seconds to load instead of 4.5, well...

    Plus, this is supposed to be thier lifeblood. I know from personal experience that if your existance depends on some infresturture, you want to own and control that infrestruture. Customers are not understanding of "QWest screwed up your link, so that's why you can't compose that doc for the CFO. Sorry."

  • by PenguinX ( 18932 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:28PM (#257082) Homepage
    I currently use Qwest.net, being the LEC I figured they would be around. I switched after Reflex Communications ended up exploding in chapter 7 flaming death. This will probably make me switch my domain, internet service, etc. to another DSL provider. I have problems with this, and will not give any money to "that company".

  • I surpised no-one has mentioned this, but doesn't anyone think this purchase was made to help boost the XBox?

    I'm sure when it comes out, all MSN customers will received plenty of advertising about the XBox, and how great life will be with an XBox and a DSL line. I'm sure MSN will be tuned to work really well with the XBox (or vice versa).

    A darker side to that theory is that MSN customers mighthave a rough time connecting a PS2 through the MSN network.

  • For one thing, the XBox probably will work best with MSN as I imagine they'll host a lot of XBox related servers there. That's the kind of tuning I was imagining, I described that badly. So, yes, you'll get lower ping times because most servers you use will probably be MSN hosted.

    One of the big selling points of the XBox is that it has a built in ethernet connection, so to help it be successful they need as many high speed customers as possible. By buying Qwest.net customers, you also get most Qwest DSL subscribers who in turn will be told the XBox is built and supported to work under MSN (who is now their ISP).

    As for the PS2 scenario, I don't think it likley either. It is a possibility though to deprioritize traffice going to PS2 specific game servers or at the very least not caring much about how traffic routes outside MSN. Who knows, perhaps that's SOP there anyway.

    I didn't mean to make it sound so conspiritorial, I just wanted to point out that the XBox to succeed would like to have a lot of high bandwith users and this is one way to get closer to them.
  • You're thinking of SPRINT -- SP:"Southern Pacific", a railroad.
  • I really hope that I am avoiding the usual MS bashing but aren't they suspiciously getting into everything?

    Operatings systems, peripherals, TV networks, ISPs, Gaming consoles....

    I think that this is all kind of scary. It's bad enough that they have the desktop OS market in their pocket but now they are trying to get everything in thir control.

    I can't believe that the majority of people haven't yet become distrustful of MS. The average person doesn't trust the government, or the company that they work for or even friends and neighbors, but they blindly follow wherever microsoft leads them.

    My faith in humanity is decreasing everyday.

  • Just so no one is confused about this, you do not have to use Qwest.net as your ISP just because you have a Qwest DSL line. You can pick from a myriad of other providers. Check here [megaspeed.com] for a list of other providers.
  • by cowboy junkie ( 35926 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:22PM (#257096) Homepage
    What bothers me about this is that there's no info from Qwest as to what's happening except for a press release and no info on what's going to change (pricing, policies, etc.) People on the qwest newsgroups have to sit there speculating as to what the wording of the press release means, since no one in the company will answer any customer questions.
  • Don't you realize, though, that roadrunner is owned by aol now?
  • I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is Futile. Your life, as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us.
  • by British ( 51765 ) <british1500@gmail.com> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:19PM (#257099) Homepage Journal
    I have Qwest DSL/ISP for about a year now, and for the past 2 months I've been getting a staggering amount of DNS errors. I often have to click on a link twice(once for DNS error, twice to get the connection).

    My work uses Qwest too for internet access, and the same problem exists. Argh.
  • Depends really....

    My guess is they settled on a cost for each user. Once the transistion is made, an amount of money is paid based on those who stayed with the service. The purchaser should do their best to make sure churn rate is down (growth vs loss).

    Unfortunately churn is always high during these things.
  • How much does an internet customer go for these days?

    That depends. What do you have in mind? :-)
  • I currently use Qwest.net as my DSL ISP here in Denver. If that becomes MSN service, I'll probably take the monent to change, just for fun.

    Anyone have any good reccommendations for DSL ISP service in Denver? I'm thinking of Front Range Internet or someone, but I'm not sure who to go to. Who do you reccommend?

  • by km790816 ( 78280 ) <wqhq3gx02@@@sneakemail...com> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:52PM (#257105)

    .Net will require TONS of bandwidth

    Says who? Substantiate your clain, please. .NET is exposing data programadically as XML over the web. Every standard that .NET uses, from HTTP, XML, SOAP, UDDI, ect. is supported by several other companies and in most if not all cases at least one standards body.

    IBM is spending $1 billion on Linux and even they are in bed with MS on their Internet service vision.

  • by phunhippy ( 86447 ) <{zavoid} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:16PM (#257107) Journal
    Hope some of those customers aren't in Maryland, doesn't MSN use Passport? Guess they are SOL

  • by GrEp ( 89884 ) <crb002@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:54PM (#257108) Homepage Journal
    Quest has already screwed us. We noticed that they were over-charging us for long distance, so we switched to ATT. Next month we get slapped with a $20 "disconnect" fee. Boycott Qwest, they deserve it

  • Sorry to be a bit knee jerk. After reading /. for a while one tends not to give ambiguous statements the benefit of the doubt they might deserve. ^_^ It's a good observation to say that there might be some benefit from the content provider being on the same network...but even that is debatable.

    Sure, it should work that way. But my ping to some of @home's servers are worse than my pings to other states most of the time. Just because its the same network doesn't mean the designers have had the forsight to actually manage the traffic. ;)
  • by Tiroth ( 95112 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @10:03PM (#257114) Homepage
    Oh please.

    "MSN will be tuned to work really well for the Xbox" Like have low ping times and lots of bandwidth?

    "A darker side to that theory is that MSN customers mighthave a rough time connecting a PS2 through the MSN network. " Nice karma grab.

    MS isn't going to do the first, because any minor improvements they might make through optimization are going to be eaten away by the thousands of general computing users who don't use Xbox. They sure as hell aren't going to do the second, which would be clearly recognizable and get them in a lot of hot water both legally and with the public.

  • Phone companies are not allowed to "buy out customers" and inform them that they have to conform to the new bell. ISPs shouldn't follow suit.

    What, you didn't notice Qwest buying out US West last year? Funny, seemed like you were familiar with Qwest there for a second. My mistake.

    Apparently you're not noticing the difference. Qwest bought USWest. They bought the whole company. One company bought another company.

    This deal isn't Qwest's deal with USWest. MSN bought THE CUSTOMERS, not the business.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@@@tedata...net...eg> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:07PM (#257117) Journal
    Alright, here's a Qwest.net customer for you.

    We've been with them for a year and a half for dial-up. They've been GREAT in being a reliable dial-up ISP (49 out of 50 calls go through, have averaged a 45.6 kbps connection, never a busy signal), and payment's cheap ($15 flat).

    We finally decided to go broadband...640k ADSL line, and service has been just fine (aside from no support for Linux with their internal modem). As for support, they suck (not even their managers know what G.Lite is, and it took the head manager to diagnose a problem that a line technician could have fixed in two minutes, or so he said). But the line's just been fine.

    But I'm sorry, I'm not going to be dragged around like some schmuk who's forced to go where they drag us. It is completely bogus that they feel that because they have a regional monopoly, they can do crap like this. I'm not a cable fan, and quite frankly, I don't want to have to dish out $220 for a bloody cable modem, but I don't want to be a corporate pawn either (besides, I'm sure the cable company here would love to offer a "anti-Microsoft" deal for about 1,000 DSL customers who don't want to be pulled around in such a way...the regional guys will actually go out of their way to do stuff like that).

    Phone companies are not allowed to "buy out customers" and inform them that they have to conform to the new bell. ISPs shouldn't follow suit.
  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@@@tedata...net...eg> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:15PM (#257118) Journal
    I don't know what city you live in, but apparenlty you think that, like where you probably live, the places Qwest services have broadband "options."

    Sorry, but Qwest services the upper-midwest. Do you know what broadband options are up here? Qwest. That's it. If you wanted broadband (and it was a pretty good deal too), you had to go with Qwest. North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado...there aren't any other options for most of this region.

    MSN and Qwest are taking advantage of a regional monopoly. Don't get me wrong, this isn't hate mail towards Microsoft...I think that it's absolutely bogus that AOL and Time Warner are trying to do the same crap.

    Here's the problem: Big Businesses KNOW that broadband IS the future. The internet is the future, and the faster the internet, the larger business potential. Just like the telco back in the 1930's, businesses ARE TRYING TO MAKE A MONOPOLY out of broadband. That's what wrong. That's what I want stopped.

  • That is an excellent point, my friend, and rings the bell of my following contention: if you ever let yourself be serviced, either dail-up or dsl, by USWorst or its happy owner, you're a patsy deserving little sympathy. Its one thing to be forced to use their plumbing....

    Although, to be honest, dude, one wonders what part of the twentieth century one would have had to sleep through to be surprised that consumers and a commodity. Been to any movies lately?
  • by fractaltiger ( 110681 ) on Monday April 30, 2001 @05:38AM (#257123) Journal
    I switched from AOL to MSN in a rebate deal buying a computer almost 2 years ago. The MSN service has been decent, and quite frankly, it has its benefits.

    You're not tied to a Proprietary software connection as intrusive as AOL's software (read all the "if you have AOL or WEBTV, click here for your page") and you can finally use Internet Explorer's most recent edition to browse, plus something AOL won't offer: POP3 mail. The automation brought by outlook or your own choice of mail client is noticeable, though getting a virus through Outlook is easier than through AOL's HTML implementation of email.

    The connections are stable but I was outraged to find only 2 lines for all of us 7 million users in New York City. They added about 5 more in December but I'm still a little worried about people from small towns getting local lines.

    Like AOL, MSN uses a proprietary dialer, so my windows scripting functionality is a little struck. I don't know why you can't just use the system dialer but must monitor the user's every move and send in ads and things through proprietary and unbreakable programs. But almost every company big enough for me to have heard of it in the NorthEast has more and more of the qualities of MSN and AOL. So the choices aren't any better. I'd just wish MSN didn't charge the same rate as AOL since I get a few more busy lines with them.

    PS: For the love of God, don't use the new MSN explorer! There's a reason why MSN version number jumped from v2.6 to v6.0 in the blink of an eye, and some of the features MSN used to have are killed. Grab your old MSN 2 CD and install that to use my features. You probably won't know anyone on your block with MSN anyway, so you don't need MSN's IM program or other time killers that [young] people have grown used to.

    I hope this is helpful. If you don't currently have a large ISP, then a lot of what I said about MSN you might already be enjoying.
  • by MajorBlunder ( 114448 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:02PM (#257127)
    I was so shocked when I read this, that I spewed Mountain Dew all over my monitor. I've been a reasonably content Qwest DSL customer for over a year now. The service has been pretty reliable, and I've had only a few minor complaints. The possibility that MSN (or any company for that matter) could buy my internet subscription without my consent is both chilling and infuriating. I'm also a former MSN internet help desk employee, and I couldn't get out of the job fast enough. I got fed up with the "Support Boundaries" that prevented me from going out of my to help a customer. It was the only job I've had that actually made me feel dirty. Slashdot's Bill-of-Borg icon is all to close to the truth sometimes.
  • First off, you're not tied to using Qwest as the ISP service. You can choose any DSL compatible ISP with Qwest DSL. So if you really dislike Qwest then check for a local ISP and switch. If they tell you switching ISPs is going to cost you then go to your local Public Utilities Commision. Get enough people going there and you won't have to worry. Qwest was sued and settled out of court with most ISPs over marketing and lead time practices for DSL. The ILEC is supposed to give all unregulated companies an equal standing and oppertunity. Generally speaking Qwest does an Fair (C+ work at best) job at it.

    Where Qwest does have to worry is combined billing. The Mercury news reports indicated they could be putting the MSN bill in the phone bill. For those who don't follow these things, U S West before the merger told all the ISPs and Web Hosting Companies that they had 30 days to get their customers off combined billing. By letting MSN do this they now are offering an exclusive unbundled service to someone. My guess is they will get sued over this.
  • by Acrucis ( 132401 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:26PM (#257133)
    No, they're not. I work for a medium sized ISP, and we frequently buy smaller ISPs that can't make it on their own. We already have the infrastructure so assimilating them won't cost us as much as staying in business separately would cost them. But the deal is just like a company buying any other company. If you buy something from one company and another company buys them, you call the new company for warranty issues. It's definitely less odd than banks selling peoples' mortgages to each other.
  • "buying customers is an option??"

    Not only is it an option, it's an extremely viable and worthwhile option.

    I work for an ISP that began as a medium-sized ISP, and by acquiring other medium and small ISPs they have become a fairly large ISP. 'Buying Customers' is especially useful when you're looking to set up a Point Of Presence in another state or rural location.

  • Are you kidding? MSN has excellent customer service. After calling their support number, I found the touch-tone service menu easy to navigate. Would you believe they have an option specifically for quitting their service? It only took me a few minutes.
  • by tcc ( 140386 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:12PM (#257137) Homepage Journal
    Weird.... Windows is not a viable OS but over 75% of the people seems to make a living out of it...
  • Qwest (the phone company) is currently one of the worlds largest DSL providers. Qwest (in a move that is of questionable legality) use their government regulated monopoly on phone services to push their non-regulated ISP business.

    One of the big reasons that customers choose Qwest as an ISP for DSL is that they are told, either explicitly, or implicitly, by sales people, that this combinations of services is neccesary (which of course it is not).

    With Qwest.net soon being part of MSN, it will lose one of its big selling points for DSL.

    Also, DSL customers who were Qwest ISP customers will have to go back to making twice as many phone calls to get their DSL installed...both to Qwest to get the hardware installed, and to MSN to get the ISP side. In other words, Qwest is losing one of its big selling point (actually maybe the only one) - the ease of use from "bundled" services.

  • Here's the deal...never bother trying to milk the online support for help--any kind of online support. Call the company. Apply this liberally to any company with an address and a phone number and you will get results. Otherwise, you're relying on the "kindness of strangers"...and man, that's a terrible way to exist.

    I mention this because it worked with QWEST. After enduring bullshit from my Intel PRODSL adapter for a while I called them up, asked to revert to a dial up, because when you're working with Text (ssh/telnet) you don't need a fat asynchronous pipe. They basically ablated 2.5 months of crappy service (credited my account), and helped me patch the software.

    I think they're just getting out from under the boom, and handing off the service to let a corp. with a couple of billion dollars in free-fall money deal with the shakeout. QWEST has a big, busy, plate to deal with. They're a business...and a business like an ISP will pass around customers like they're a commondity. I've seen it done for years.

    As long as I don't _have_ to deal with MSN directly (go to some webpage and enter a fresh new set of easily demographed data, describe my kids favorite shows, what magazines I like to read, etc..etc...) I don't care, and unless there's an idealistic streak involved, neither should anyone else.

    DSL is a pretty good service, even this "poor man's" DSL Select crap is obviously an improvment, especially when the drivers work.

  • C'mon, no one's going to complain about how FreeBSD isn't free?! Let's get a big GPL rant going, it'll be fun.
  • "Support Boundaries?" Sounds interesting and hateful. Please elaborate!
  • This is obviously not a very bright idea, and would definitely harm local business. I live in Fresno (CA) and we had our local university open up an ISP/NSP that is subsidized by taxpayer and/or tuition fees to compete against local businesses.

    They then slashed prices to approximentally HALF of what local ISPs were charing, which then seriously hurt local businesses. We have around a half-dozen local ISPs that support the San Joaquin Valley. The university has little cost to run the ISP as local university support staff ran the network. A real David and Goliath saga.

    So much for getting decent service for the mom-and-pop shops that can offer other features, like static IPs, dedicated and leased lines. They've just been quashed by a low-margin high profit university.


  • by smack_attack ( 171144 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:12PM (#257154) Homepage
    Microsoft makes world domination push with China partnership
    Original Mong: JON FORTT [mailto]/Mercury News [sjmercury.com]
    Microsoft will soon make another big push into the world domination business, after a five-year deal struck with China. Microsoft and China announced Thursday that Microsoft will be the exclusive everything provider to China's citizens. China is home to serves more than 5 billion citizens, roughy 30% of the world's population.

    China will discontinue its own political domination. About 5,000 of China's citizens get direct access to this domination through fear every day, either through subjugation or spying.

    Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed. But as part of the deal, China promised to do away with the Tebitian problem. Microsoft also gets first crack at invading Taiwan next quarter, who will have the option of switching over to MSDN (Microsoft Domination Network) or finding a new ally. China projects that the deal could bring the country as much as $31.5 billion over five years.

    So far Microsoft's efforts in the world domination arena have fallen flat. Former partner North Korea has filed for protection from the United States, and Microsoft's co-branded MS-Cuba program has not done much business. All together, said Expansion and Marketing Manager Bob Visse, Microsoft has fewer than two billion customers acquired through world domination.

    The deal with China, which could turn out to be the largest an country has made with a company, could be the beginning of a larger trend. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said he is eager to strike similar deals with other countries, he also went on to state that Russia is pretty close to China, although he declined to comment on any plans to buy Russia.

    Plus, Microsoft has to plan ahead. AOL Time Warner, which is both the biggest media companies with a large user base, has a clearer path to domintating the rest of the world, with their recent acquisitions of Canada and South America.

    For other reasons, it is in Microsoft's interest to push the adoption of it's agenda. Many of Microsoft's plans, including the consumer segment of its .Net strategy, the Xbox video game console and the wired home, require them to have lots of citizens to buy them without qustion. For competitive reasons, it's in Microsoft's interest to do it quickly.

    ``We think this is going to be just a super-attractive opportunity for us to switch the disenfranchised Chinese citizens who are in a evil beurocratic communist country, to one that is owned by Microsoft,'' Visse said.

    China's territory includes more than 20 miles out to sea, but not according to the United States.

  • MSN buying customers from qwest.net, extremely funny. As a qwest.net victim I guess MSN is hoping they will be getting customers with low enough expectation from dealing with qwest.net so they will not have to do too much to keep them. Just a little fluff, then again getting the Usenet neswgroups working will be a major step. Me? I'm shopping for a new ISP
  • by decaf_dude ( 171976 ) <83rumx2zf001@snea k e m a il.com> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:26PM (#257157) Homepage

    How can a company buy customers? It's a strange world we're living in...

    Qwest's customers who do not wish to be MSN's customers should demand full refund of the equipment and/or remainder of lease contract, or a no-cost (to the user) transfer to another provider.

    MSN should learn how to obtain and maintain a clientelle of their own and not resort to buying them off the market, like some comodity.

  • by cheshire_cqx ( 175259 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:40PM (#257159) Homepage

    Not only is this a reduction in choice for users, but it's also a probable rollback of free software. As this Slashdot story [slashdot.org] mentioned, USWest.net presented slides [freebsdcon.org] showing thier extensive use of FreeBSD.

    Of course, this is embarassing stuff to Microsoft, especially on their own systems.

    Even though here in AZ uunet seemed to service the MSN dial-ups, I can't help but wonder if MS won't wipe out the FreeBSD infrastructure USWest.net (Qwest.net) has in place.

    In a hundred-mile march,

  • If you live in the Twin Cities (which was a USWorst town until Qwest bought USWorst... now I like to refer to it as "Qworst"), and have been relying on Qwest for your broadband service, I suggest you check out VISI. [visi.com] They provide DSL service (using Qwest's pipes), for about the same price... the important difference being that they are local (they began as a mom-n-pop ISP, and expanded rapidly when Winternet took the dirt-nap), and their customer service is a hell of a lot better than you could ever hope to get from Qwest or MSN.

    Those of you in other Qwest cities, there's a good chance that there is somebody like that where you live. Look around a little, and post it here if you find one. :)

  • A few readers have written in unhappy that they're about to become MSN customers, too.

    Big fucking deal. Switch providers. I was unhappy when Time Warner (my cable provider) merged with AOL, but I didn't complain. I switched to Comcast (and got a nice cable modem deal in the process.

  • Funny. Comcast gave me the modem for free. The service was cheaper than ADSL, and I'm getting faster speeds than when I had ADSL.

    Do what I said in another post: if you don't like it, leave the company and get service elsewhere.

  • So let me get this straight: you are in a region with a relatively sparse population and a sparse bevy of choices for broadband. You only get one choice.

    What did you expect?

    If you don't like it, there are LOTS of places you can go with plenty of viable service options. I live in upstate NJ right next to NY, and naturally I have a lot of options to choose from in a broadband provider. Why? Because I frigging MOVED HERE. I knew being next to a metropolitan region would help me get better service, and being right outside NY (notice I didn't say in New York) allows me great access to jobs while living in a nice suburban setting.

    Your complaint is like someone going to Madagascar and complaining they only get 28.8 on the nation's only access provider. Give me a break. If it's such a tremendous issue with you, you have two options: move somewhere else or, more viably, WAIT FOR DECENT ACCESS.

    In the meantime, put back in your 56K and stop complaining.

  • Qwest did the same thing, though they are not a railroad, they simply made deals with railroads.

    linkage from the horse's mouth [qwest.com].

  • That's not so easy, especially if you have broadband. In many areas serviced by qwest, qwest is the only broadband carrier AND ISP. Moreover, they often do many little sneaky things to make sure it stays that way, or close to it. I am lucky enough that there are more ISPs in my area, and I will indeed switch, but many people are not so lucky.
  • But hey - at least AOL is planning to stop using Internet Explorer [yahoo.com] and instead use their own product, Codename: Komodo/AOL 7.0 (no relation to ActiveState's Mozilla IDE [activestate.com]). They may even decide to release an 'official' Linux product at the same time.

    I think this is good news for everybody.

  • by grammar nazi ( 197303 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:35PM (#257174) Journal
    I really hope that I am avoiding the usual MS bashing
    You are not avoiding it; You are adding to it.

    Your second comment about the majority of conformist sheep blindly using MS. You are correct, my friend. You are correct.

    The same people just recently became able to comprehend how to use a computer. They have yet to form opinions about whether MS is a good choice or not. Most of them don't even know that MS is a choice or what exactly an operating system is.

    My faith in humanity is decreasing everyday.
    You should have faith. People will learn. Enough of them will eventually jump off the MS ship to either turn Linux into a viable desktop OS or to force MS to compete and MS will turn Windows into a viable desktop OS. Neither of which has yet happened.
  • by King of the World ( 212739 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:32PM (#257175) Journal
    You're saying we should judge someones actions without considering their past? This is supposed to be a better way of evaluating the situation?

    I'm quite happy with taking into account someone's past to judge their current actions. Microsoft previous actions are the context. They do have to go straight for a while before I will give them the common respect I give someone I don't know anything about.

    Microsoft have proven themselves to be bastards [slashdot.org], time [slashdot.org] and time [slashdot.org] again. Ignoring their past isn't sane. I'm going to go sing in the rain with my dame.

  • yes, one of those monolithic Linux ISP's, oh wait, there are none.

    yes, of course [uklinux.net]
  • for the static IP address you can get with a DSL connection. I'm not sure why it matters what DNS name your ISP uses if you run your own mail / web server...

    Yes, I know about TZO as well, but come on - I'm only 14,000 feet from the CO! A static IP is one of the main reasons for buying a house so close to my mother in law...

  • by FrostedChaos ( 231468 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:31PM (#257184) Homepage
    [slashdot.org] Never mind, you're coming with us.
  • by DeadMeat (TM) ( 233768 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:48PM (#257185) Homepage
    Except that when you get an ISP plan, you're signing a contract that the ISP will let you connect in exchange for you paying the bill (assuming they don't go under). These people agreed to pay Qwest $19.95 a month, not MSN $21.95. If these people had really wanted MSN as their ISP, they would have signed up for MSN instead.

    True, they have the option to switch ISPs, but then they have to deal with the hassle of switching E-mail addresses (assuming they use Qwest's POP3 servers), dial-up settings, etc. And what if they bought, say, 12 months of Internet access? (This is not just idle whining -- my folks recently got switched to Earthlink by their ISP, who bumped the monthly fee up and refused to honor the "guaranteed" price they got from buying 12 months of access at a time. Even though MSN != Earthlink, given MSFT's history, I can see where they'd pull the same stunt.)

    The bottom line is, forced ISP switching is bad, no matter who does it. And we're talking about a lot of people to inconvenience.

  • FRII is struggling, they'll likely be bought up in the next year or so. Last I checked Rhythms hadn't gone on life support yet (I used to work there, and I always figured they'd be the last non-telco provider to go under. Northpoint dying before Covad came as a bit of a shock, though). Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and a few smaller ones offer connectivity.
  • As a forced-customer of MSN(I can't really change what my Dad does can I?), here is some useful information if you are forced to use full-fledged MSN Username != Username . Username = MSN/username they want you to use the special client software for windows, and are reluctant to share this News and Email are unreadable in non-outlook environments as far as i know. this is due to lack of NTLM/SPA support which is required.
  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:36PM (#257194) Homepage
    If all this means is that MSN will run the Quest modem pools and the price plan is unaffected then it means no more than MSN and Quest pool their POPs. Under the Quest long distance plan you got free ISP if you spent over $50 a month in long distance, catch is that with Quest charging 5 cents a minute or less that is pretty hard.

    I don't think takeover by MSN is anywhere near as scary as being taken over by AOL. MSN gives clean IP dialtone, AOL locks you into their own private prison and bombards you with pop up ads. There may be an MSN for morons to compete with AOL these days, but at least you get the choice.

    What I am worried about is if my AT&T cable modem goes AOL. I can't get DSL at the moment in my neighbourhood - otherwise I would have hooked that up and got a static IP address. I guess that if I get AOL'ed I will simply have to pay for a T1 and see if I can rent my basement space out to folk who want to co-loc.

  • the big question is: will MSN continue non-metered access for DSL. I transfered nearly 1GB today... not unusual for us webdevs.

    I've never used my Qwest pop account or webspace. if MSFT maintains the fairly good uptime then it will be a difficult choice on whether to switch or stay.
  • by Sarcasmooo! ( 267601 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:47PM (#257199)
    This sort of attitude annoys me to no end. God forbid people bash a company that sets out to monopolize the industry, makes crappy software, then pushes CPRM and UCITA. It reminds me of an old response I saw that said, "I know it's 'cool' these days to bash companies like Nike...." THEY MAKE THEIR PRODUCT IN SWEATSHOPS FOR GOD SAKES.

    Only in a country this rife with ignorance and complacency could people be demeaned for doing the right thing just because so many other people do the right thing. Activism becomes 'geeky' because of morons who call it a 'trend' that bratty young people use just to have something to rebel against. Despite the fact that most people would rather sit on their ass than protect their own rights; despite the fact that AOL and Microsoft dominate the market with inferior products; the few people who break from the majority are the ones called ignorant conformists. What a pile of bullshit.
  • by deran9ed ( 300694 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:21PM (#257200) Homepage
    I wonder how this will affect Qwest overall. For those that don't know the story about Qwest, if I'm not mistaken, the company was working with a railraod company, and laying fiber alongside the tracks of the railroad, when the internet was in its infancy stage.

    Anyways one thing I know is Qwest owns a hell of a lot of dark fiber, and I know MS would love to get their hands on some of it for their MS.NET world. I wonder if Qwest unloaded because they were losing money, or could this be the staging for a future rival to AOL-TW. Qwest is pumping out about 15+ billion $ so I can't see them needing money that bad now. ;\

    3 days till launch [antioffline.com]

  • I've never used MSN, nor have I known anyone who's used it. I realize it is a MS product, but can anyone give me an unbiased opinion on MSN? Does it suck or is it decent?
  • Since they *did* buy Qwest, the service can't really get shittier...
  • by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:02PM (#257207)
    The problem with many of these so called Microsoft-bashing stories isn't that Microsoft is a sainted and blessed purveyor of good and truth to the net community, it's that, while Microsoft may be bad (to its workers, to users, to competitors, etc.), these stories don't present anything new to the Microsoft-monopolisation picture. Sure, this story is an illustration of Microsoft's cannibalisation of its competitors, but you could run 100 stories a day that show Bill's a monopolist and we would be none the better informed, still writing exactly the same "the microsoft bohemoth has to be stopped" posts, we did a few minutes ago. We'd know Bill's a monopolist, like we knew before we read the story, and we'd have essentially gained nothing from this news. If we want to be any the richer for reading these stories, their editorial philosophy has to expand beyond Linux vs. Microsoft. I'm sure IBM, Apple, Nvidia or any of the other major players have used aggresive monopolistic tactics. But the fact that we can't make a romantic doomsday pronouncement about their hegemony causes us to ignore them, in our fetishistic pursuit of editorial drama.

    This is, more or less, the problem with a lot of contemporary media. It's either dogmatic or oriented towards the entertainment of the viewer. Information alone doesn't sell.

  • Looking for an unbiased opinion on anything Microsoft at Slashdot is like looking for a geek in a porno. ;)
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:17PM (#257209)
    I'm not all that concerned for a couple of reasons:

    1) I think MS is going to more or less leave the service unchanged, they'd be foolish not to. Remember, home users aren't the only ones on Qwest DSL, there's plenty of bussiness class lines too. I'm guessing that when you subscribe to qwest.net residential service it will now come with a warm and fuzzy MSN welcome CD that will setup and configure it all for you and install all the silly MS features like MSN mesanger if you like, but nothing will change other than that. As is, they send you a CD with a customized version of netscape and so on, but you don't have to install it, I never did. The hardware is just a plain Cisco 678 DSL router,it doesn't care what's on your system.

    2) If the MSN service sucks, we can just switch over. Qwest.net is not mandidated with a Qwest DSL line (that would break regulations), you are free to choose other ISPs and there are around 15 others in Tucson where I live. I'm with qwest.net because I feel they do the best job but The River or Dakotacom would be more than happy to take my bussiness if Qwest/MSN start doing a bad job.

    3) Supposing the whole thing really goes to hell, we can always just switch off to another kind of broadband. Cox (or whomever your local cable provider is ) offers cable modems, Sprint offers wireless, and so on. Supposing the overall service gets real bad, it's real easy to jump ship.

    Basically, I think this move is more centred around the technophobe/AOL type person. Qwest DSL never was very friendly, and MSN will help that image. However, I seriously doubt they'll do anything silly to harm power users/bussinesses.

    OH and for those of you that think Microsoft will spy on it's customers, get real. IF you're really worried go get a copy of Tiny Personal Firewall [tinysoftware.com] and it'll verify it.

  • I'm guessing that if some large Linux based ISP picked up the entire userbase of another (NT based, perhaps?) ISP it would be declared a "Victory for Linux" etc., etc.

    It wouldn't be a "victory for Linux", but it would probably be a blessing for the users. Microsoft has shown in the past that they are willing to deny access to anybody who isn't willing to buy their software at their inflated prices.

    You see, the situation is simply not symmetric: Microsoft software is written with profit in mind, and that involves getting users entangled as much as possible in a web of dependencies and proprietary standards. Linux software is written by users and for users, and people in the Linux world have neither the means nor much of an interest to tie you to anything.

  • I like Linux just as much as the next guy (and use it for running my site) but Windows 2000 is the best desktop platform I've yet seen. Office is the best office suite on the market as far as I'm conerned.

    That's kind of like the proverbial guy who killed his parents asking for mercy because he is an orphan. Really: Microsoft has pretty much killed all the competition and all the innovation. Nobody else has the marketshare or resources anymore to compete. Sadly, what Microsoft is delivering is still pityful compared to what was possible two decades ago.

    DirectX, COM, and other technologies are well designed AFAIK (never coded using either however.) C# looks like it has potential. These are all opinions, YMMV.

    Gack. COM and C# are Microsoft's poor copies of other people's ideas. DirectX is merely a set of random APIs thrown together for game development. No long range planning, no design, no insight.

    I'm 19 years old.

    Better, more modern software than what Microsoft has developed was available before you were born. For starters, take a look at Smalltalk.

  • I see.

    [Okay boys, they want to go that-a-way, so that's where to install the curving runway to herd them into our pen.]
  • by Lothar+0 ( 444996 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:31PM (#257223) Homepage
    Hey kids! Now's your chance to create your very own Anti-Microsoft Slashdot Post [tm]! With this handy schematic paragraph, you too can post just like the Big Boys! It's easy, just fill in the blanks with one of our many choices... I can't believe that ______________ (Bill, Borgmeister, The Jerk from Redmond) is still pulling this ______________ (favorite variation of excrement). Soon the Net will be _____________ (corporatized, overrun, mutilated, assimilated) into a bastardized version dumbed down to where only _____________(script kiddies, grandmas, MBA's, droolers, h4X0rz, cluebies) will be enthralled. As soon as ______________ (Red Hat, Debian, Caldera, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Be) can gain more market share, we'll be able to push back _______________ (closed source, proprietary software, mediocre OS's) to extinction in favor of a model that encourages _______________ (innovation, competition, self-determination, mass empowerment, utopia).

    No disagreement here, but things do get to be a tad predictable on /. at times, with me sharing some of the guilt.

  • by Tachys ( 445363 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:14PM (#257225)
    I mean I sign up with ISP. Don't I have a contract to stay with that ISP.

    But that ISP is allowed to "sell" me to another ISP.
  • by kypper ( 446750 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:11PM (#257228)
    One day we will either be Microsoft or AOL. I am so unhappy about the lack of choices NOW. A company that big, very often, gives BAD service and even worse support. Joy.
    The internet is no longer enjoyable; it's depressing.
  • Don't forget services like @home and roadrunner for broadband. I think those have the absolute worst support in the world, but at least some are not forced to use propriety software like AOL.
  • I use verizon as my DSL provider, and when you sign up, you choose a "GSP," which is either qwest or some other company I don't remember. I recall at the time being told by someone that it didn't matter which one I chose, so I think I chose qwest. Anyone know what kind of impact this deal will have on someone in my situation?

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982